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How Raul Contreras, Johnny Antillon are Inspiring a New Generation

The message is timeless.
by The reportr team
6 days ago
Photo/s: YouTube/Archive MC

Half a century later, the world speaking debuts of teen orators Raul Contreras and Johnny Antillon are inspiring a new generation of Filipinos, thanks to archived black and white videos that have gone viral during the quarantine.

Contreras, who later became a crisis manager to former President Cory Aquino, spoke of prejudice in 1956, decades before #BlackLivesMatter and #StopAsianHate. In the 1950s as in the COVID quarantine years, some people still judge others based on their nationality and skin color.

Antillon articulated the post-war concern of newly liberated countries like the Philippines. Will their former master "sell us down the river" or ar they newfound friends? Filipinos now are trapped between the rivalry of its former colonial ruler, Washington, and the government's new partner, Beijing.


Meet Raul Contreras, Filipino with Sharp Views on Prejudice in 1950s Debate 

Why Johnny Antillon Inspires Filipinos With 1950s UN Speech 

"He loved his country more than anything as evident in the video. His patriotism was something that never left him even during his final years," Anton Miguel Contreras, who shares an uncanny resemblance with his grandfather Raul, told reportr. 

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Antillon's grandson, Daniel, said the videos went viral at a time when Filipinos needed good news the most. Some 24 million are under a new lockdown and COVID cases are surging.

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"I feel that a lot of our countrymen are losing hope. And then suddenly, they see a video like this, someone who was young, educated, raising our flag in front of other people just through speaking alone," Buenaventura told reportr.

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